The power of participating in a cause is well-documented for its contributions to general well-being (or happiness). The associated implications for physical health and levels of anxiety and depression are meritous alone. But we add to that the whole “let’s make this world a better place” idea and there seems little reason not to.
Here are just three of the many ways engagement in a cause empowers and encourages our young people.
Purposeful use of their time
Every summer holidays you’ll find a group of youth from our church serving our local community through the “SummerWorx” initiative.
Here youth spend their discretionary time working together on projects in local schools and community organisations – cleaning, gardening, removing rubbish, painting and sorting.
We often bemoan our young people’s overuse of technology or seeming laziness without necessarily giving them an alternative by calling them to a greater purpose and genuine satisfaction in the work of their hands.
The camaraderie of time spent with others with a mutual goal and the shared success in the achievements, grow skills of teamwork and responsibility. While providing a sense of deep fulfilment and belonging.
A way to understand and fight injustice
Each year our community participates in the PingPongAThon. A 24 hour table tennis event created to raise awareness and funds for exploited, abused and trafficked young people via a number of organisations on the ground in Sth East Asia.
Last year we raised over $24,000 as young people responded to the empowering realisation that they could in fact do “something”. As small as their contribution might have been it was caught up in a greater whole and each was confronted by the privilege of their freedom and the power in each of them to bring hope and restore dignity.
A call to something bigger than themselves.
Within our church community, young people are encouraged and assisted into roles of leadership and serving. They supervise children’s programs and lead small groups, connecting with families and participating in the faith and life development of children and youth of all ages.
These opportunities allow young people to invest in others as they themselves have been led and nurtured in different aspects of their lives. They see the role they have – to step in to the time and place they’ve been chosen to occupy in history and to work to provide a hopeful and fruitful future for emerging generations.
What do you think? What benefits have you seen from youth engagement in causes and projects? What initiatives have you seen that facilitate such involvement?